No Ghairat on borrowed F16s says Kamran Shafi in Express Tribune
So then, what in heaven’s name have the Ghairat Brigades and their commanders achieved in these seven or so months that the Nato supply lines were blocked, earning this country the ire and the opprobrium of the rest of the world? A world that we need and depend on for our very survival: to which we export the goods that we make, and from which we import those goods that we need for our manufacturing industry; and more than anything else for our defence needs.
Look at the so-called ‘apology’ that made us crow with delight as we opened the land routes into Afghanistan for Nato/Isaf trucks carrying supplies and equipment: Verbatim as reported in our press: “We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, recounting a telephone conversation she had with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. “I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.”
Now let’s go back seven months, to December 4, 2011, a week after the Salala attack. This is what this newspaper of record reported then: “President Barack Obama called President Zardari on Sunday to personally condole the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Nato airstrike last week. In a press release issued by the White House, President Obama “made clear that this regrettable incident was not a deliberate attack on Pakistan and reiterated the United States’ strong commitment to a full investigation”.
The press release further stated that the two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship, which is critical to the security of both nations, and they agreed to stay in close touch”. Note also that commanders at every level in Nato, US Central Command and Isaf not only apologised but also condoled the death of our officers and jawans.
But let’s specifically note the word the US President himself used in the telephone call to our president. Obama termed the incident “regrettable”. The word regrettable also means ‘lamentable’ which in turn means ‘woeful’, ‘inexcusable’, ‘appalling’ and ‘dreadful’ and ‘deplorable’. The word ‘deplorable’ also means ‘unpardonable’ which in turn means ‘indefensible’, ‘inexcusable’, ‘awful’ and ‘shameful’.
So, there was the president of the United States, let me immediately add, the country that is the source of our most sophisticated weapons systems that are used on land, sea and in the air, actually calling his country’s action on Salala post inexcusable and shameful and yet we continued to stand on our tails and growl at the world? Well, meow at any rate.
And what do we get at the end of it all: the so-called ‘sorry’ from Secretary Clinton! Really! We Pakistanis do make complete monkeys of ourselves sometimes. And then we cut off our nose to spite our face by refusing to go to the Bonn conference effectively cutting ourselves off from any deliberations to do with the ‘endgame’ in Afghanistan. (Which will be a long time coming, just watch, with us getting the drubbing of our lives).
And now for a short riposte to the mini-article penned by one SRH Hashmi of Karachi in the ‘Letters to the editor’ column of this newspaper. He says that “in matters of politics, he [I] sees everything in ‘a Pakistan versus the rest of the world’ prism”. But is it not the case? Unless Mr Hashmi missed the latest BBC poll on the most disliked countries in the world? Surely we are all old enough to know that we have steadily become a headache for the rest of the world, our ‘friends’ and ‘brothers’ included.
Witness the quiet demarches made by our ‘deep as the ocean’ and ‘sweeter than honey’ friend China about controlling our mad jihadis from influencing affairs in their western province of Xinjiang. Does Mr Hashmi not know that many years ago (during Musharraf’s rule, if memory serves) news surfaced of Chinese dissidents being trained in Khyber Agency? Surely he knows of the most recent deportation of Abu Jindal who was in Saudi Arabia as Riyasat Ali on a Pakistani passport and carrying two identity cards, one an NIC (National Identity Card) and the other a NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis).
He says: “The Pakistan military gets a special battering from him, along with the new-found ‘security analysts’, who are increasingly from the Air Force”. True, only the ‘military’ doesn’t get a ‘battering’ from me, hopefully the brass-hats do; those who cause the running of bakeries and pastry shops and shaadi ghars in military messes, of which Mr Hashmi says nothing.
Again: “To eliminate terrorism, you also have to reduce the causes that give rise to it. However, he [I] never touches these aspects, which makes his approach seem inadequate and superficial”. Mr Hashmi obviously reads me superficially. How many times have I said that the day our Rommels and Guderians stop spawning and molly-coddling murderous terrorists for future use as their ‘assets’ terrorism will come to an end!
And finally, in regard to my saying that the Isaf commander’s offer to use the hammer and anvil method on the Af/Pak Taliban is sterling: “Also, Mr Shafi is assuming that General Allen’s offer is a sincere one and has not considered the possibility that his ploy could be to get Pakistan extensively involved in the fighting and thus deflect the full fury of the forces fighting foreign occupiers towards Pakistan.” At long last, an admission from a defender of the Deep State that the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban are one and the same entity, joined not only at the hip but also in the head.
The rest of Mr Hashmi’s mini-article answers the questions it poses, for example on Mumbai and on East Pakistan, so no discussion necessary. One hopes one will continue to read Mr Hashmi in the future …
Let me just end on the note that there can never be any ghairat on borrowed F-16s; their spares; and the required permission from the American managers. Let Mr Hashmi investigate this …
P.S. And what, pray, did Secretary Clinton mean by, “Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives”? If they both acknowledged ‘mistakes’, did we also make some? One?